Off the Trail

The emergence of eco-literature

So what I have been up to these past few months?

Well, I went and co-founded a publishing house: Ashland Creek Press.

As you know, I’m passionate about animal rights and the environment.That’s why I wrote The Tourist Trail.

But one of the reasons I struggled to find a mainstream publisher for this novel was that mainstream publishers didn’t know how to market the book.

Publishers want to publish books that address well-established markets. Like mystery novels or thrillers or chick-lit.

Publishers are not very good at identifying new markets.

Like eco-literature.

The eco-lit label has been traditionally used to describe nonfiction environmental works. But there is no reason why a novel can’t he labeled eco-lit. For example, we recently published a young adult paranormal romance novel, which also happens to be the world’s first “vegan vampire” novel. I would consider this book to be eco-lit, but also one that fits more established categories as well.

Amazon does not yet offer an eco-lit category for publishers. For now, we will build upon existing categories. Next year, we’ve got an eco-mystery planned, as well as two novels that both fall under the eco-lit theme.

The best thing about starting this press is that I’ve realized how many other writers out there who share our passion for eco-literature. I believe the readers are out there as well, and that their numbers will continue to grow.

Every genre has got to start somewhere.

UPDATE: We are now accepting submissions for the Among Animals anthology.

7 comments

1 J.D. Mc Glacken { 11.26.11 at 5:10 pm }

Hi,
Having spent the last 15 minutes or so searching the web for anything on ‘eco-lit’, I’ve come up with practically nothing. I’ve a solid background in research and can usually tell whether I’m barking up the wrong tree, or in this case, no tree. Basically, until I came on your blog, the genre ‘eco-lit’, as you describe it, seems to have been thus far, overlooked by the ‘mainstream’. It certainly hasn’t been established yet, which I feel is a shame. I’m not surprised however, as I’ve been into a book-store today and was faced with the same old hat. Speaking of hats, I’d like to take mine off to you as the first I’ve come across who’s prepared to move on the issue of ‘sub-genres’ etc. Finally, I’d like to add that the reason for my search is down to the fact that I’ve written an MS with ecological context and am looking for a genre into which it fits… Bravo to you for setting up a publishing house which I’m now following on Twitter! Take care! J.D.

2 John Yunker { 11.28.11 at 8:03 pm }

Hi J.D. — thanks for the support! If you get a sec, join the mailing list of Ashland Creek Press. We have four novels coming out in 2012 that would quality as eco-lit. Thanks again!

3 Claire Datnow { 01.15.12 at 5:06 pm }

Way to go! I wish you the best of luck. As the author of an eco mystery series for middle schools, The Adventures of The Sizzling Six, I too am carving out a niche for this genre. I passionately believe that we can inspire people, young and old, to become wise stewards of our precious natural resources through a combination of great storytelling and accurate scientific information.

4 John Yunker { 02.24.12 at 10:17 pm }

Hi Claire — sorry it took me so long to reply (for some reason this comment got hung up in the aether of WordPress). I’m so glad to see you pursuing similar themes — best of luck to you as well!

JY

5 Claire Datnow { 02.28.12 at 9:38 pm }

Thanks John. If you Google, Eco fiction, Environmental Fiction, YA Eco Mysteries, Environmental Fiction for kids, you do get some hits. Let’s keep on working and writing ecological fiction that inspires and informs readers to become intelligent stewards of out precious natural resources!

6 Claire Datnow { 07.24.12 at 4:25 pm }

I do hope authors are working on eco mysteries as I write . . . I have just completed the fourth book in my eco mystery series for Middle Schoolers, The Adventures of The Sizzling Six. I am inviting readers to join me on a journey of discovery as I begin the process of creating the fifth book. If you are interested, if you are curious, please feel free to contact me.

7 Introducing EcoLit Books — The Tourist Trail { 04.14.13 at 9:38 pm }

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